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Tale Of Yrenta Review Topic


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#1 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Oct 29 2011 - 07:20 PM

This is the review topic for my first epic, Tale of Yrenta It is finished and it is 32 chapters long.
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#2 Offline Maganar

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Posted Sep 01 2012 - 10:52 PM

Ok, let's do this!Three weeks ago, I finished reading Tale of Yrenta. Due to reasons I will outline in a PM coming your way very soon, I was unable to give my promised holistic review until now.This epic opens with a wonderfully chosen starting point, the middle of the League of Six Kingdoms. This gives a climactic opening point and introduces a large host of characters quickly, allowing us to rapidly acquaint ourselves with some of what will become major characters. The opening chapters detail the explorations of Matoran adventurers, which gives a very enjoyable MNOG feel. A believable mix of familiar and invented Rahi appear in this portion, the Jivri Nui being one of the best-imagined, and it's name stays true to the tradition of naming more fearsome versions of familiar Rahi with a 'Nui' suffix that we see in Bionicle nomenclature. Subtle things like that to hold continuity can go a long ways. Characters with behaviors similar to their elemental alignments bring back an old and largely dead tradition as well. I suppose I am helping kill that old concept with my writings ( :dontgetit: ), but, hey, I really liked it in here. It worked really well. Oh, and of course that goes for the villages themselves and the customs of those villages. Poor Morok - even after admitting his guilt openly, getting beat up by Gareki, and going out cold, he has to wake up to an uncomfortable Po-Matoran excuse for a bed! Alas! The Gravity village was the best example of this: it's an element we haven't seen a Koro for in canon, but you made the elemental tie-ins in a logical fashion - an even greater challenge when considering it's a rather abstract element.Now, Teskor's appearance marks a transition in the story. Teskor made for a decent Makuta; the minotaur-like build isn't something we've seen before in Makuta and since they all seem to have unique appearances, it works for me. Nothing to spectacular with his introduction, he's a Makuta who's trying to make a good impression on the Matoran and who just ends up being a bit creepy instead. :P The Ni-Koro makes for another well-imagined environ with its lightning harvesters and electrical devices. The surroundings on Mount Tasle are what truly sell it, though. The overlapping thunderclaps and perpetual lightning striking the rocky crags - now I know I'm just beyond the Lightning Village! The creation of a Matoran Nui was another great reappearance of an infrequently-used canon concept. This is where I will make one criticism, however. As far as word choice goes, I see the word "amalgam" show up time and time again in continual succession. For such a specific word, it is normally considered to loose some of its effectiveness when used so many times in a row. This would be a good point to use pronouns (if you can avoid ambiguity with the word "it") or find synonymous words. Pretty minor complaint though, and it's difficult to avoid with a strange entity such as a Matoran Nui.Oh yay! Toa rise to the challenges of the universe!The new Toa behave just as you would expect new Toa to behave. Eagerness for action, an inability to control their powers, a little bit of generic and inadvertent mayhem (it going to take the Po-Matoran repair crew weeks to get the Ce-Kini back in working order) - you captured it all. "Pebbles, raindrops, hot gas, electric tingles, weeds, and falling" - Now we're talking! ;) Some of these battle techniques were great - I especially like ionized gas combo for plasma and electricity. It seems so logical in retrospect, but I'm not sure I've seen anyone use it before in a battle sequence. You'll have to tell me if you saw that in some other fanfic first, but it was a good touch to include it whether it was fully the product of your own creativity or a borrowed concept - it doesn't matter. The battle to reach Teskor was also well done, a valiant but inevitably doomed assualt that ended leaving us readers nicely confused. :P Teskor's answers... answered nothing! It's fun to be confused!Ok, let's run through everything else rather quickly - this review is turning out to be gargantuan in proportions, even if I expected this to be the case given that it is a review of a full 32-chapter epic. I like the Hand of Artahka dude speaking in early contemporary English, it sets him apart and makes emphasizes his lengthy wait and noble purpose, even if he does get a little overly-zealous in his insistence on taking out the even the Toa! I get the feeling he's a proponent of the "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" approach. I assume that was Ancient at the end - nice little cameo and a hilarious moment as Gareki and Morok confusedly go "Um... what just happened?" Not literally, but you know what I mean. The Lightning Village evacuation succeeds in being panic-inducing and horrifying we realize just how outmatched the Ni-Matoran are. Ilikia's desperate defense gives us a sense of her courage just as we earlier got a sense of Morok's belief in justice as he travelled to Po-Koro to apologize for Pakkum's death (something I failed to mention earlier). The actions you portray in these characters are great as far as characterization and making the characters believable beings we can sympathize and - in Ilikia's case here, after the destruction of her village - lament alongside. Nice usage of the word "Piraka" once again - that being yet another story concept brought up and forgotten (I'm just referring to the fact GregF said "Piraka" meant "thief" or "murderer," yet we never once saw it used except to refer to the Skakdi of '06). A pseudo-mystery with Siok mixed things up a bit and a nice display of unintended consequences with the Vesai-centric segment - I'll skim over these. They were also well-done and consistent with the rest, but I don't feel I need to elaborate further.One thing that didn't fit in earlier as I made my chronological progession: Varlokka's prediction as to her defeat. I seemed like she knew too much about it just from prophecies coming from the stars. I just feel that it was always a bit more cryptic when it was Vakama or Nokama or one of our good old '01 Turaga making those prophecies, which was back when it was plot-important. (The Matoran in the Knowledge Towers in '04 did the same, I know, but we never really got any insight into what sort of information they were able to record from the stars. We just knew they did it. I take it you were basing this off of the '01-style prophetic star readings anyway.) I didn't really like the level of detail she got: she knew she would fall, she knew she would survive - just barely, she knew six Matoran would come, and she knew she was to imbue them with Toa power! That's quite a bit to glean from prophetic stars! Anyway, that entire thing got, what? - like a sentence? - of attention, so it didn't detract much. Just something I noticed.And of course, our finale. A call to arms to what we know will be one of the pivotal conflicts of the MU and Toa Yrenta will be there. I like it, I like it. And the final admission of exactly what Teskor had been planning (and was up to) the entire time. Yes, his plan is totally in the style of the plans of the Makuta and it is devious in the extreme! Finally the puzzle pieces fall into place and the conundrum begins to explain itself...All in all I loved it and I hope this in-depth analysis did some level of good! :P I'll catch up with your further writing in the future. Thanks for writing the epic and I'll see you around!EDIT: OH! I almost forgot. (Well, actually I did, but then I remembered it later.) I looked at your Yrentan MOCs. While it doesn't directly pertain to the writing, I figured I might as well say it here. The MOCs were pretty cool in general, but the mind-blowing one was the Matoran Nui. That was amazing! I was quite simply dumbfounded by the fact that you had used every piece, save a few masks, in it just to stay true to the spirit of the Matoran Nui concept. Bonus points have been awarded! :biggrin:

Edited by Maganar, Sep 02 2012 - 10:17 AM.

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#3 Offline The Iron Toa

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Posted Sep 02 2012 - 09:33 PM

You're too kind, Maganar. I'm happy that you consider my first story to be of such high quality. Indeed, though I think I've developed my writing skills, looking back I find I like some things about my older stories better. Just something lively and wondrous about them. But I hope you enjoy my later stories just as much.Now, I'd like to review your review a little. :PThough my epics mostly focus on Toa, they do feature the characters as Matoran, and I had fun writing about their travels. Yeah, it's sort of like MNOG, and they have to watch out for mundane things like Rahi, because as Matoran they can't just blow hostile beasts away. Now, Teskor never really tried to make a good impression on the Matoran -- after all, he took this rather unsettling shape and made a point of showing how small they were to him -- and I'm not sure if creepy was exactly what I was going for, but close. Condescending, arrogant, unsettling... sure, creepy too, that works.Thanks for looking at my custom models, I'm glad you like them. I am actually quite proud of my personal, um, policy of using all the pieces for combiners. The Matoran Nui's not the only one, I've made a whole bunch of Kaita, check them out! Though you might want to wait until you read more, so as not to spoil anything. Also, some of those Yrenta Matoran have both low quality pictures and just builds I'm not fond of. I think sometime I will rebuild them and take better pictures, which would also entail redoing the Matoran Nui. But I'm also working on a lot of other models, for I want to eventually 'MOC' every named character I can, and some unnamed ones. I even just made models of a pair of Dark Hunters, Tehen and Boramfi, and they're one-shot characters from my latest epic! I think I will try to make sure every character from this latest story is given a form, but then I'll go back and make sure there are images of all the others. I even made a model of Gurk, but never uploaded any pictures of him before taking him apart. Oh well, I think that was before I got a decent camera anyway.Writing the details of the Ba-Koro and the Lightning village was fun. (I'm not sure why you call it the Ni-Koro, though, when I go out of my way to only stick to canon prefixes. :P) I wasn't sure if it would make more sense for Ba-Matoran to live in high or low places at the time, and now I know that there's officially no preferred environment for them. That's why I stuck in a line about how Siok doesn't know if other Matoran of Gravity live like his people do. And I'm not sure if you guessed this, but when I was planning Yrenta, the element of Psionics had not yet been revealed! That's why all the elements were represented in the region but that one. We must have learned about it when I was working on the first chapters, of course, because we soon are introduced to Varlokka. And the scene of their transformation and the dialogue you noted were definitely inspired by the formation of the Toa Metru and the snarky banter between them, and also between the Toa Mata/Nuva, when one of them might call Lewa a Toa of breezes or something. And yeah, I think if we saw more of these 'secondary' elements in the story, we'd see more logical combination techniques like Water + The Green and Plasma + Lightning.I hope their mission to question Teskor gave off the right feeling. I think it did for you, and that's good. I mean, Teskor is supposed to be their ally, but they know he's scary and unfriendly (and creepy, as you put it), and they're suspicious of him. They go prepared for a fight and get one because Teskor doesn't want to be disturbed and doesn't care if some unlucky wanderer happens to be offed by one of his Rahi and Rahkshi guardians, then Teskor intimidates them, shows how easily he could kill them, but doesn't, because even he knows it's not time for the Makuta to show their true malice (though he does have trouble waiting, as you'll see later). The Hand of Artakha guardian, I hope it's not too much have him talk in Ye Olde Butchered English. It's supposed to show how long he's been isolated down there, since before the Hand was disbanded, and I guess it worked out. And you think the Toa saw Ancient down there? Wrong! It was supposed to be Botar, who had been sent to pop in and recover the artifact for the Hand's successor organization. I don't usually use canon characters in my own works, so there's something you won't see often. It could actually be a different member of his species, but I had Botar in mind.I'm relieved you found the segment about the water-dwelling creatures acceptable. I'm kind of unsure about it myself, and the inspiration actually came from a model my brother made that he wanted me to feature. I don't have any surviving photographs of the thing he made, but it was supposed to be an aquatic being, so I sort of retconned it into being of a group of altered outcasts from Ehlek's species (I hope that's not a spoiler, but I did intend the reader to figure that out if I didn't say it outright. Don't want to read all those chapters again to find out if I did.)About Varlokka's foresight, besides Vakama having special visions, how much Matoran, Toa, and Turaga can foretell and how is sort of vague. I'll tell you, next time a new team of Toa come into being, it's not explained as much. But I did think that her foreseeing the rise of the new heroes was thematically/dramatically (whatever :P) appropriate, and you know, she had befriended those six over thousands of years, and could probably get a hunch they were destined for something special by their personalities. Also, she knew she was past her prime and was likely to meet her match soon, but if she could just foresee that she would live to see those new Toa develop, she knew she might come close to death but not die before that. So maybe it didn't all come from the stars. I forgot exactly what I typed and what I had in mind.Makuta Teskor's character, I fear, wasn't as good as it could be, being a flat character that's evil and hates Toa just because all his brothers are like that. But he does mature a bit, I'd like to say, in the latest story, though he also falls out of the spotlight... I'll have to do what I can do fix that. Anyway, before you get to that or the story right before that one, you still have to read Wartime Journal of a Toa. I hope you like it. It's quite violent, and I hope you're not too attached to any of my characters! Thanks for reading and reviewing, and sorry if I ramble in this, this silly review of a review, but it's quite fun to be brought back to discuss my earlier works. Sometimes I kind of want to make annotated editions of my epics. :P
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#4 Offline Maganar

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Posted Sep 04 2012 - 06:40 PM

Woah, BS01 has swallowed its own words since I last checked. I need to stop using it so much as a reference. "Ni-" definitely is not a canonically accepted prefix as of the current day. I need to remember to stick with concrete paper references when possible, since - as reliable as it usually is - BS01 still is a division of Wiki and can occassionally have fallacious or non-canon info leaking in. Not paper made of concrete, of course. Just paper references that possess what we concretely know to be canon. I think just invented a word. Con...crete...ly. Huh.Oh yeah, Ancient can't do the portal-thingy; that's Botar. I still think it would have been way funnier if it had been Ancient. :P I have no idea why, I just do. I think that may have been the one part of your epic where comic relief didn't lead me to chuckle or have a tongue-in-cheek moment, I was just outright laughing. Oh no, wait - I laughed all silly-like when Ilikia was being antagonized by her former comrades. (Something about only having to hook her up to a capacitor to power the entire village? :P Yeah, that would have been it.)

I'm relieved you found the segment about the water-dwelling creatures acceptable. I'm kind of unsure about it myself, and the inspiration actually came from a model my brother made that he wanted me to feature. I don't have any surviving photographs of the thing he made, but it was supposed to be an aquatic being, so I sort of retconned it into being of a group of altered outcasts from Ehlek's species (I hope that's not a spoiler, but I did intend the reader to figure that out if I didn't say it outright.

OK... that's what I thought. Just didn't want to blurt out my "great epiphany" and awkwardly be told that they were not among the members of Ehlek's species. That could have been more explicitly stated (if you want more criticism, since I'm too kind!), but yes, I did guess as much, but I felt unsure. Oh course, I did blurt out my Ancient cameo epiphany... and uh, so yeah. Whatever.Nothing wrong with the equally lengthy reply, by the way. Normally, you would get the chance to make little replies as necessary to my points over the course of reviewing during posting. But with one mega-review at the end, you had to do this to explain things.Anyway, your opening words - "lively and wondrous" - that sums up the whole work. I'm done here! Time to move on and into your later works!

Edited by Maganar, Sep 04 2012 - 06:44 PM.

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